Valerie Sommer Bio

Valerie Sommer is the Director of South San Francisco Public Library.  She received her M.L.S. from Columbia University and her B.A. in English Literature and European History from Syracuse University.  She began her library career in the corporate world where she set up and supervised a systems library for the American Express Corporation in New York City before moving to Paris, France for 2 ½ years, where she strolled the City, traveled in France and beyond,  and did some librarian freelance work.  After returning home to the United States in 1982, she and her family moved to San Francisco where she was fortunate to get a job at San Francisco Public Library.

Valerie Sommer - Library
In 1989 Valerie accepted the job of Grand Avenue Library Branch Manager in South San Francisco, moved to the Main Library as Head of Reference Services in 1991, and was appointed Library Director in June 1996.   Valerie’s accomplishments as Director include a seismic upgrade of Grand Avenue Library, the planning and implementation of Community Learning Center (CLC) services as well as the CLC building project, several Peninsula Library System network upgrade projects, implementation of the automated materials handling system, and the introduction of e-book circulation and STEM programming to Library collections and services.  Current projects include the renovation of Grand Avenue Library, with branch expansion via an outdoor patio,   the completion of a five-year strategic plan of library programs and services, and visioning and outreach on our longtime dream of a New Main Library.  Valerie is the resident expert on great “books on tape” and is always on call to provide recommendations for good “listens.”  Valerie notes:  “As we “geek the library” and up our technology offerings, we’re still all about the book and all about inspiring the love of reading in our community.”